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Feb. 16, 2012

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Laredo Couple Charged with False Claims to FEMA

LAREDO, Texas – Nora Sanchez, 47, of Laredo, Texas, has been arrested on charges of making false claims to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and false statements to the Department of Homeland Security - Office of Inspector General (DHS-OIG), United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. The indictment, returned Feb. 14, 2012, was unsealed following today’s arrest of Sanchez and Marco De La Rosa, 42, also of Laredo, who is charged in relation to this case with making false statements to DHS.

Sanchez and De La Rosa are expected to make their initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge tomorrow morning. 

On June 30, 2010, Hurricane Alex caused flooding of houses on Los Martinez Drive in Laredo. Sanchez is accused of falsely claiming to FEMA that she resided in one of the flooded houses. As a result of her claim to FEMA, she allegedly received rental assistance benefits and benefits for personal property damages. In addition, she and De La Rosa were both interviewed by representatives of DHS-OIG and both are accused of falsely stating that Sanchez resided in one of the flooded houses on the date of the flood.

If convicted, Sanchez and De La Rosa each face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count with which they are charged.

The investigation leading to the charges was jointly conducted by FEMA - Fraud Branch and the DHS-OIG. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D.J. Young.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. 
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.